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High-Protein Superfood Chocho Could Transform High Country Agriculture in ANZ

The ancient Andean lupin, Chocho, is gaining attention not only for its rich nutritional content but also for its potential to thrive in the high country of New Zealand and Australia.

Cultivated in the Ecuadorian Andes and sold by US based, Mikuna Foods, Cho-cho is renowned for its remarkable ability to flourish at high elevations (3,500 to 4,200 metres) , relying solely on rainwater and improving soil health by fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Mikuna Foods -ChoCho Andean lupin

Source: Mikuna Foods -ChoCho Andean lupin

Cho-cho (pronounced 'cho-cho') offers an astounding protein content - up to 53% per 100 grams - making it one of the most protein-dense crops known. This, coupled with its content of fibre, iron, and calcium, and the fact it provides all nine essential amino acids, positions Chocho as quite a remarkable choice for those looking for nutrient-rich food.

In New Zealand, agricultural trials with similar lupin varieties have shown crops like the perennial Russell lupin sewn as stoke feed by Snow Loxton at Sawdon Station, Lake Tekapo, can adapt to the challenging conditions of the South Island's high country. These areas are characterised by cold, acidic, and low fertility soils, which are similar to the Andean regions where Cho-cho thrives. This similarity suggests a promising potential for Cho-cho cultivation, which could benefit local agriculture by introducing an annual sustainable and economically viable crop option.

Source: Lupins NZ- Lake Tekapo

The cultivation of Cho-cho could represent a significant advancement for both New Zealand and Australian farmers, offering a crop not only boosting innovative nutritional offerings but also supporting regenerative agricultural practices. Its ability to enrich the soil and promote biodiversity makes it an environmentally friendly choice, aligning with global efforts towards 'Earth Friendly' farming and climate resilience.

The potential applications for hyper-proteinised Cho-cho products are vast, ranging from nutritional supplements to protein bars, shakes, and even alternative meat products. These applications could serve not only those looking to increase their protein intake but also cater to the growing market for sustainable and ethically produced food products.

Mikuna Foods -ChoCho Andean lupin

Mikuna Foods -ChoCho Andean lupin

As the global community continues to seek out sustainable and high-nutrient food sources, Cho-cho could be a promising solution supporting both human health and the planet, heralding a new era for agricultural practices in New Zealand and Australia's high country.

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